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Honda and Toyota set for battle over hybrid crown

The two carmakers leading the race on hybrid fuels are ready to go head-to-head with their next-generation models.

Honda and Toyota both believe their products will give them the edge.

Honda has already revealed that the Insight hybrid will be pitched around £3,000 less than the Civic Hybrid when it reaches the UK market in spring.

“Despite offering space for five and the convenience of a hatchback, this car has been developed purely as a hybrid,” said Honda engineer Thomas Brachmann, who is based at Honda R&D Europe in Germany.

“Because the bodywork has not needed to be adapted, we have achieved savings in construction and production, as well as price reduction resulting from major steps in electronic systems,” he added.

But the fresh competition from Honda will not prompt any changes in Toyota’s approach to super-clean mobility, said Toyota Europe sales and marketing vice-president Andrea Formica.

He claimed Prius was still the most advanced expression of hybrid motoring.

“Our present car delivers customer benefits that go beyond Honda’s proposed new model, and when our next-generation version is unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in January, we expect it to offer further benefits.”

Formica added: “More than one million examples of our pioneering petrol-electric powertrain technology have been sold so far and plans are in hand to achieve one million annual sales by 2010.

“Present strategy is linked with the Prius, but we
will expand our hybrid applications and field models in every market segment by 2020.”

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